Nigeria is a strategic country for missions in Africa. With a population of more than 150 million, Nigeria is by far the most populous nation in Africa. With its immense population also comes broad diversity. It is estimated that there are over 400 ethnic groups within Nigeria – each with its own language and culture. While it is beautiful to see such diversity, it can also lead to tension as ethnic groups struggle for influence and strive to maintain their cultural heritage.
Spiritual beliefs are highly regarded and influential in Nigerian life. Both Christianity and Islam are firmly rooted in the fabric of the Nigerian culture. Statistics show that the country is about equally divided between the two religions, with a strong presence of African Traditional Religion as well. Many people who claim to be Christian or Muslim continue to adhere to their traditional beliefs as well.
Christian Reformed World Missions' (CRWM) ministry in Nigeria focuses on the following:
- Christian Education (read more...)
- Education Workshops / Mentoring: CRWM encourages and challenges Nigerian schools and associations to focus on the core foundations of Christian education, investigate what it means to be a Christian teacher, and see students as God's children.
- Higher Christian Education: Through its partnership with Friends of West African Christian Higher Education (FWACHE) and International Institute for Christian Studies (IICS), CRWM assists in mentoring and encouraging public and Christian universities in Nigeria.
- Hillcrest School: CRWM is one of eight mission organizations that jointly runs Hillcrest School – a K-12 school for the children of expatriate missionaries, other foreigners, and Nigerians. Hillcrest has about 275 students who come from a broad range of cultures and backgrounds.
- Evangelism & Discipleship (read more...)
- Bible Translation: Through partnerships with translation-focused organizations, CRWM assists in translating the Bible and other materials into Hausa and other local languages. Hausa is one of Nigeria's three main languages, and is predominately used in Nigeria's mainly Muslim northern states.
- Evangelism / Outreach: CRWM works closely with national churches and partner organizations to provide training and mentoring and work jointly on various outreach programs.
- HIV and AIDS Ministry: CRWM and CRWRC jointly started an HIV and AIDS ministry called Beacon of Hope in 2001. In 2011, Beacon of Hope became an independent Nigerian organization. Beacon of Hope hasa vision for working through established Nigerian churches and medical facilities to address issues related to HIV and AIDS and other healthcare-related community development issues.
- Leadership Development (read more...)
- Bible School Training: CRWM provides staff in a remote northern Nigerian region to assist in training leaders from a body of Christians living in a mostly animistic and Muslim-influenced culture.
- Leadership Workshops: CRWM provides training for community and church leaders that focuses on developing a solid biblical worldview. With this foundation, churches, businesses, politicians, etc. are being challenged to reflect Christ in all aspects of life.
- Seminary Training: The Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN) is a seminary that serves 15 denominations actively involved in ministry throughout Nigeria. Reformed Theological Seminary (NKST), Veenstra Reformed Theological Seminary (RCCN) and Veenstra Theological Seminary (CRCN) are all schools in partnership with CRWM. CRWM has a long history of providing seminaries with lecturers and financial assistance to help shape future Nigerian Church leaders. The Nigerian Church is increasingly influencing Nigeria and the world.
- Accounting Training: CRWM helps partner organizations strengthen their accounting practices and procedures.
CRWM has the following career missionaries in Nigeria:
- Sheila Dykstra: Sheila is CRWM's Christian Education Consultant to West Africa. She walks alongside teachers and administrators as they learn and apply a biblical perspective of education.
- Andy & Linda Horlings: Linda assists with local Bible translation projects and discipleship ministries.
- Tim & Wilma Palmer: Tim teaches at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria and helps publish Christian materials for the Nigerian Church.
- Al & Jacie Persenaire: Al is Hillcrest School's administrator. Jacie leads a women's Bible Study Fellowship program.
- Mike & Victoria Van Der Dyke: Mike advises the Christian Reformed Church in Nigeria's Missions Department and trains national evangelists and disciplers, walking with them as their passion for outreach and discipleship in Nigeria and throughout West Africa expands.
- Kathy Vanderkloet: Kathy is CRWM Nigeria's Business Manager. She provides administrative and logistical support to Nigeria team members and financial advice to partner organizations.
CRWM has the following partner and associate missionaries in Nigeria:
- Jon & Janice Barnhoorn: The Barnhoorns are involved in Bible translation with Wycliffe Bible Translators International.
- Jeanine DeJong: Jeanine is Hillcrest School's guidance counselor.
- Andy & Linda Horlings: Andy Horlings is involved in developing Nigerian / African theological literature.
- Erika Huizenga: serves at Hillcrest School.
- Tara Meekhof: serves at Hillcrest School.
- Pat & Heidi Rosendall: The Rosendalls work with Wycliffe Bible Translators International.
- Case & Gremar Van Wyk: Leadership developers in Niger State.
- Chris & Christie Winkler: The Winklers work in administration with Wycliffe Bible Translators International.
Learn more about CRWM projects in Nigeria. Not from Canada or the US? Click on either country.
- National Church Partners:
- Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria (CRCN) (read more...)
The CRCN grew out CRWM's work in Nigeria in the mid-1900s. Today it consists of over 80,000 members from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds. Though first established in present-day Taraba State, the CRCN has established congregations throughout Nigeria, including several urban centers. The CRCN's missionary activity has also spilled into other West African nation. Today, CRCN missionaries partner with CRWM and World Renew in places like Niger Republic and Sierra Leone.
- Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria (RCCN) (read more...)
The RCCN was created following a painful split with the CRCN in the 1970s. In 2003, the RCCN and CRCN reconciled with one another and now work alongside one another. Predominantly located in Taraba State, the RCCN consists of over 40,000 members. Church members are mostly from the Kuteb tribe, though multi-ethnic ministry is being pursued in several areas.
- Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST; formerly called the Church of Christ in the Sudan Among the Tiv) (read more...)
In 1960, CRWM took over the Dutch Reformed Church Mission of South Africa's mission work among the Tiv. With a membership consisting mostly of Tiv people, the NKST today has more than 160,000 regular attendees. The NKST emphasizes education and has about 500 primary schools, 50 secondary schools, and a university.
- National Partner Organizations:
- African Christian Textbooks (ACTS)
- Apostles in the Market Place (AiMP)
- Association of Christian Schools International – Nigeria (ACSI – Nigeria)
- Beacon of Hope (BoH)
- Hillcrest School
- Institute for National Transformation (INT)
- Missionary Training Partner International (MTPI)
- Nigerian Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA )
- Seed Company (SC)
- Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN)
- North American Partners:
- Friends of West African Christian Higher Education (FWACHE)
- Timothy Leadership Training (TLT)
- World Renew
- Wycliffe Bible Translators International (WBTI)
Johanna Veenstra, a member of the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA), began working in Nigeria in 1920 with the Sudan United Mission (SUM), a British missionary organization. Her vision brought the CRCNA to Nigeria in 1940 when, seven years after her death, Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) joined the SUM. The CRCNA's ministry in Nigeria is still known as SUM-CRC.
The Nigerian church and other ministries rapidly grew from the 1940s through to the 1980s. Ministries from literature to aviation, church planting to the development of schools and seminaries, all flourished. At its peak, CRWM had nearly 100 career missionaries serving throughout Nigeria. Three national denominations arose from this work: the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria (CRCN), the Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria (RCCN), and the Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST; formerly called the Church of Christ in the Sudan Among the Tiv).
Today, though much smaller in size, CRWM continues to work with national churches and organizations, focusing on Christian education, discipleship, evangelism, and leadership training.
- Population: 174, 507, 539 (July 2013 est.)
- Languages: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, over 500 indigenous languages
- Religions: Muslim (50%), Christian (40%), indigenous beliefs (10%)
- Date entered by World Missions: 1920 informally, 1940 formally
- Ministry Emphases:
- Christian education from primary through university level
- Developing Christian leaders
- Encouraging national partners in evangelism and discipleship
- Location of Work: CRWM missionaries primarily live in Abuja and Jos, but ministry extends to the following Nigerian states: Benue, Niger, and Taraba
Visit the World Factbook for more information on Nigeria.